Meet Elizabeth Murray, a Registered Nurse who shares her story of imposter syndrome.

imposter syndrome

I was a late starter to become a Registered Nurse! 54 when I walked across that stage to collect a piece of paper that to me, had so many joyous but bittersweet memories, we had lost our son whilst I was studying, he was 28, so this was for him because in his words ‘Mum you never finish anything!’.

Since graduation first as an EEN where I worked forensics for a couple of years then into the mental health arena where I still hang my scrubs at the moment, I have become aware of a strange feeling that I always have had, however, could not put a name to it until recently, I saw someone else who suffered from it….

The imposter Syndrome!!

This feeling leaves me doubting myself constantly, not backing my own decisions that I damn well know I know the very thing I am doing IS right, the feeling of having no belief in what I know, have learned and have demonstrated, even when a DON comes to me and states what an amazing job I did in a MET call! Really? are you sure you meant me!? No not me you have me mixed up with the REAL RN’s that know what they are doing…. This feeling is paralysing in so many ways. It has stopped me applying for positions on wards that I would love to be part of, surgical, paediatrics, ICU, ED! I have never worked on these wards, why would I, I know nothing! I have sabotaged myself…after all, I am an imposter!!!

Imposter syndrome appears to mimic a mental health illness, the condescending words, the ‘you are stupid feelings’, the ‘you will never get anywhere thoughts’, you do not know enough. It is a hard-enough day as an RN on a shift without having to be challenged with these feelings as well.

imposter syndrome

I have spoken to my peers about this imposter, they can’t see it! They are always full of compliments, pats on the back, encouraging words and the typical “don’t be stupid you are an amazing nurse” comments, so why, why do I feel this way? Truthfully, I have no idea!

I spent 26 years in the security industry, from bodyguard, nightclubs, patrols, events, you name it! nothing scares me, I am a critical thinker, I am quick in my reaction time, I am a leader, a delegator when things go bad, I am a negotiator, a passionate loving understanding empathetic soul….but as a nurse, I am an imposter.

How do I get rid of this Imposter? How do I shake the hell out of her to help her move on to have confidence, I have thought about this a lot. I am 3 out of the 7 learning styles: Spatial, kinesthetics, and interpersonal. So…..

My perfect setting: a small rural hospital, an amazing support team that understands this Imposter Syndrome, space to learn, to practice beside some excellent nurses who will guide and nurture.

Where do I find this little gem?

I remember when I first started my EEN’s, our very first class we were told straight up by our lecturer that “nurses eat their own”! I think we were all traumatised to hear this statement, surely not! but unfortunately, they do…and I still cannot work out why. I have run into some amazing nurses, but I have also run into some that are vindictive and nasty, why? I do not know… all I know is that I want to be the nurse that is able to take other nurses who are starting out just like me under my wing and tell them they are amazing, they know what they are doing, they are going to be great…but first…I need to get rid of this Imposter !!!

If anyone works in my dream setting and are looking for someone like me who gives 110% and more, that learns quickly, that has a wicked sense of humour, that cares deeply and loves cheese! Let me know, I will relocate…

Have YOU experienced imposter syndrome and want to share your story or about anything else? Contact